After a couple of months of speculation, M&G has reached an agreement with Royal London to purchase its platform, Ascentric. The deal, subject to FCA approval, brings £14bn of assets and over 90,000 clients to the M&G, in what seemed at first like an oddly timed move.
Gatekeepers. That word strikes fear into many fund managers' hearts and rightly so. These are the people who increasingly influence and direct the volume of sales in the UK, and if a fund group isn't on their radar it's potentially missng out on some sizeable assets. The problem becomes even more acute when the investment outlook is stormy and investors are taking shelter.
Following the UK’s historic vote in favour of leaving the EU which stunned the European political establishment and caused financial market turmoil around the world, concerns over the health of the UK property sector, which first arose in the run up to the referendum, have intensified.
The trend for outsourcing investment has grown sharply in recent years, and with the advent of pension freedom it is only going to get bigger. Model portfolios and robo-advice are currently the talk of the town, but in the background funds of funds have been hoovering up assets.
According to Fundscape’s latest report Deconstructing the UK Funds of Funds World, FOF assets may only represent 12% of the total fund industry AUM (June 2015), but they punched well above their weight with 52% of industry sales in H1 2015. So in short, it pays to be part of this expanding market.
Following on from our Q115 platform statistics, this week we're looking at which funds and fund groups were hot on platforms and why. The table below shows the top five fund groups and the top five funds by gross sales for the platform universe* in the first quarter of 2015.
Invesco headed up the table for the second quarter in a row. It has staged a steady recovery since Woodford's departure and has five funds in the top 25 funds. It is renowned for its income expertise, but its IP Global Targeted Returns fund (a rival to Standard Life's popular Global Absolute Returns Strategy) is beginning to turn advisers' heads. Now that GARS has become so big, some advisers will be keen to diversify exposure to GARS, so credible rivals will be considered. With GARS by far and away from its biggest seller, Standard Life should develop and bring on other funds of GARs quality.